The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) has released its latest census results, revealing that its 125 members provide wireless broadband to an estimated 80 000 customers.
WAPA members are typically wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) using ‘unlicensed’ Wi-Fi spectrum to provide broadband services.
“WAPA to date has 125 members, which, as the census indicates, provide wireless broadband to an estimated 80 000 customers. This represents a turnover of R160 million, the employment of 1 000 people and the provisioning of over 6 000 public hotspots,” WAPA said in a press statement.
Since a single customer can be a household, a business, clinic or an institution, the number of end users served could well be in the millions,” said WAPA Chairperson Christopher Geerdts.
“Our members cover 550 schools (each with hundreds of pupils), as well as mines, health facilities, restaurants and Internet cafés.”
According to WAPA the census results underscore the considerable economic benefit WAPA’s members are bringing to South Africa. “They introduce competition to broadband provisioning, raise service quality and customer service, challenge high prices and drive innovation,” said WAPA.
WAPA highlights that over 90% of broadband access provided by its members is offered via ‘unlicensed’ wireless frequencies. Geerdts believes that WAPA members could raise the bar even higher if given access to better quality spectrum – something which WAPA is actively lobbying the government to provide.